Is he a landlord?

by Readers Question

18:29 PM, 28th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Is he a landlord?

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Is he a landlord?

Is he a landlord?My partner’s ex-wife & their son reside in the ex-marital home, courtesy of the divorce agreement. She is required to maintain it & keep it in the (good) condition it was in when he vacated in 2006. This situation will remain until 2016.

Anecdotally, we know that the property is not being maintained, internally or externally, and we have just discovered that the gas boiler broke down & has not been used for at least a year. They keep warm with halogen heaters (we have been told) but we have no knowledge of how the water is heated, if at all.

My partner is not allowed any access to the property, unless by invitation, to check the situation but is concerned that he could be viewed as ‘landlord’ and be liable for things like gas safety. His ex-wife will not ‘invite’ him inside but from the doorstep we can smell damp when the front door is opened.

For info, the property has a small o/s interest only mortgage. Ex-wife supplies a certificate of buildings insurance annually. Mortgage is is my partner’s sole name.

Thank you

Sharon Jones



Comments

Mark Alexander

18:34 PM, 28th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi Sharon, from what you have said I am reasonably confident that your partner is not a landlord as the occupation is court ordered by divorce and is not subject to a rental agreement.

What would concern me more if I were you is that your partners ex-wife is not keeping her side of the deal. I suggest you go back to solicitors and ask this to be bought back before the judge on the basis that you want it to be court ordered that a full professional appraisal of the property is undertaken. Once you have this I think you ought to be suing for damages and requesting the judge to give you vacant possession in the event of the damages not being paid for within a reasonable time period.

Heather Moriarty-Phillips

17:42 PM, 29th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi Sharon. Your partner is not a landlord, there is no tenancy between him and his ex wife. She has a court order and as you said the court order was made in the divorce it is binding on both husband and wife. The terms of the order cannot be varied as divorce settlements are final . The only exception is they can be varied by agreement between the husband and wife which sounds unlikely here..However the order may contain words " liberty to apply" which means you can go back to court for working out the details of the terms of the order eg the wife not looking after the property properly. It is important for the property to be maintained as it will affect value in 2016. Check the terms of the order carefully particularly if there are some trigger events which might specify she loses the right of occupation, if they are there they will be set out clearly. Most importantly if your partner is concerned his asset is depreciating he should consult the solicitor who acted for him in his divorce who will have notes of all that took place at the time.

9:35 AM, 1st May 2013
About 6 years ago

Your partner needs to go back to his solicitor who handled the divorce to find out where he stands regarding access to the property, enforcing maintenance, etc., but in answer to your immediate question he is not a landlord as defined.

23:26 PM, 1st May 2013
About 6 years ago

Thanks everyone for your comments. We thought he was ok re being a landlord but wanted to be sure. The asset is depreciating. We have all the relevant Court papers etc as partner represented himself. He negotiated well and was happy with the final outcome (relevant to ex-wife's barrister's starting position). The cost of repairs/re-instatement etc will be coming out of ex-wife's share of the proceeds of sale.


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